Kind of a good news-bad news Wednesday for Southwest Airlines. On the one hand, in today's New York Times there's a really flattering piece about Southwest's chief executive, Gary Kelly -- who, says the paper, "transformed himself from a buttoned-down C.P.A. to one of Corporate America’s most colorful bosses." The Times runs a Halloween '07 pic of Kelly as Hairspray's Edna Turnblad to prove its point.
On the other hand, the federal government -- including the Department of Transportation and the House Transportation Committee -- wants to know a little sumpin-sumpin about a whistleblower's claims that the Federal Aviation Administration "demonstrated extremely poor judgment by allowing the air carrier to operate aircraft in revenue service without properly inspecting the aircraft for fuselage cracks." Southwest's spokesperson says it never flew a plane that was in violation of FAA safety standards. Investigations forthcoming. --Robert Wilonsky